Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blizzard announced Diablo III

Okay, so I'm a horrible n00b as journalist. I went to the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational without a camera, and left my laptop in the hotel, because the FAQ said that visitors can't make screenshots with a camera, and laptops couldn't even be brought onto the premises. Turns out these rules only apply to people who bought a ticket. I received my press pass without a problem, and press is allowed to use cameras and laptops. Doh! My bad. Well, this isn't really a photo blog anyway, and other sites are faster and better than me in news coverage anyway. This is a blog of words, and I'll give you my thoughts and impressions of the big Blizzard announcement: Diablo III is coming.

I saw the Diablo III announcement in the opening ceremony, and then listened to a panel with the Diablo III developers. And I must say, I'm impressed. I'm going to buy that game, it looks great. The announcement had actual gameplay footage, and the focus is on the player being overpowered and fighting against huge swarms of monsters, using various abilities. This is still very much Diablo, that is: random dungeons, random loot drops, fixed isometric view. But there are lots of cool new things as well, for example destructable environment, which affects gameplay. They showed one scene where the player caused a wall to fall on a bunch of zombies, crushing them to death, and that wasn't a cutscene but real gameplay. They showed two classes, Barbarian and Witch Doctor, and the Witch Doctor had some very cool abilities, like summoning a wall of zombies.

There will be small-group cooperative play on the new, competitive multiplayer features as well, with new anti-cheat methods, and of course a full single-player campaign in various difficulty levels. The devs stressed ease of use, and fast furious combat. There will be quests (called "adventures"), big boss mobs, and lots of character abilities. In fact overcoming challenges by drinking tons of potions is out, using abilities and positioning well is in. For example they showed a skeleton shieldbearer mob, which acts as a tank in front of ranged combat mobs, and which is hard to kill because the shield blocks direct attacks. So you need to do stuff like knock the skeletons of their feet with an earthquake, or stun them, and that destroys the shield and you can kill them easily. There will be lots of loot, and the devs promised to improve the inventory system, without giving details.

In fact lots of the game is still unknown, they don't even know how many different character classes there will be. Don't expect Diablo III this year, you'll be lucky if you can buy it christmas 2009. Nobody even asked about the release date, because everyone knows the answer: "When it's ready."

Well, I'll go back to the convention now, and have a second look at Wrath of the Lich King. I already played a level 55 female gnome deathknight with pink hair for 10 minutes, but apparently this is still an earlier build of the alpha version, and my deathknight had 0 talent points. But she looked good, coming fully equipped with a great looking complete armor set. Even if that armor was only of "green" quality, it looked like a set of epics. I'm not going to report on details of talents of this or other classes, because I'm pretty sure they aren't done yet. But I did get a goodie bag with a scratch code for "Beta key of future Blizzard title". And I bet that's a WotLK beta key.

Tobold out.

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